As the first round of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) approach Unifor is calling for a massive overhaul of the trade deal.
“International talks on trade have to go beyond a tweak here and a little change there,” said Jerry Dias, National President. “What we need is a fundamental change in the way our governments approach trade.”
A joint Unifor-UAW statement on auto and the re-negotiation of NAFTA blames the pact for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and the closure of thousands of U.S. and Canadian manufacturing facilities. The unions warn that “NAFTA re-negotiations will only be successful if it leads to higher wages in all three countries, reverses trade deficits with Mexico, and creates new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Canada.”
The joint union statement, found online at unifor.org/NAFTA, also outlines four key priorities in the re-negotiation of auto-related provisions:
- Strengthening labour standards and raising wages,
- Balanced trade,
- Real “made in North America” rules, and
- A fair share of benefits for workers in each country.
In preparation of NAFTA talks with the United States and Mexico, to be held in Washington, D.C. from Aug. 16-20, Unifor has also provided written recommendations that go beyond the auto industry in a submission to the federal government.
Key Unifor recommendations include enforceable labour and environmental standards, elimination of the right of corporations to sue governments over lost profits, an overhaul of rules governing auto trade across borders, and measures to protect our food supply, cultural industries, and public services such as health and education. Read the complete submission at unifor.org/NAFTA.
“These recommendations will help ensure there is a different kind of policy approach to NAFTA and all future trade deals. It’s about time that trade helped not hindered workers and communities,” Dias said.
International trade strategy will be discussed and debated at the upcoming Canadian Council as Unifor prepares to implement its plan of action on trade. National President Jerry Dias will also bring a multi-pronged recommendation on trade to the floor for delegates to consider.
For more information on the Unifor trade campaign please visit unifor.org/peoplestrade